Adrian recently interviewed Ollie Bond leading up to the game against Stoke and questions around the transfer window.
1) 1-1 draw against Chelsea, what were your thoughts of how the Reds played?
It was an open game at Anfield yesterday despite Chelsea setting up to frustrate and counter – I thought it was a good performance from Liverpool – the changes threw a lot of people including Antonio Conte most likely, but Klopp has been emphasising the importance of squad depth and the ‘trust’ he has in it, so it was good to see us put in a performance like yesterday with those changes.
2) Another goal for Mohamed Salah and into double figures with 10 goals so far in the league. Would you say he’s now up their with the best like Messi, Suarez etc?
For me no, as this is only his first proper season in the Premier League, and despite his brilliance this year already and the consistency he has shown, to be classed as ‘world-class’ I think we need to see this replicated over a longer period of time. What a start he’s had though – it’s difficult to imagine where Liverpool would be this season without him – just unfortunate and incredibly frustrating these constant defensive errors, flaws, and horrific game management isn’t giving him the complete satisfaction his performances have merited.
3) The next game is Stoke on Wednesday, can you expect Klopp to be making several changes to the starting 11 again? If so who can you see coming into it?
I think we’ll see Klopp rotate a lot during the festive period. Last January the squad was reduced to it’s bare bones due to injuries and AFCON, a position we don’t want to be in again as our season completely de-railed in January. I think the fact Klopp decided to make all those changes for Chelsea instead of Sevilla says an awful lot about the trust he does have in his players – but I expect Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino to be restored to the starting XI on Wednesday, but having said that it would be difficult to drop Oxlade-Chamberlain as he had his best game in a red shirt last night for me.
4) Some of the fans are complaining Klopp makes changes to late into the game. Do you agree with this?
I do agree with this – some of his decision making when it comes to substitutions are baffling, and they came far too late yesterday – Conte went all out and Klopp didn’t respond to that – it was a time where momentum in the game had completely shifted and given Liverpool’s shocking game management in Seville on Tuesday I was really surprised Mané and Firmino weren’t brought on sooner. The same happened at Watford on the first day of the season – and we came away with a point when we should have taken all three, just like on Tuesday and just like last night. Klopp isn’t perfect however, and mistakes will happen – I’m just hoping lessons are learned otherwise Liverpool simply wont go to that next level.
5) Henderson.. Is he good enough to be apart of the Liverpool team?
This is a difficult one – as Joran Henderson’s natural position is not as a Number 6, and so to be playing there and having to adapt to that position isn’t easy, especially when you’ve spent your entire career playing a different role. He needs time to adapt to it and I think if he wasn’t captain, there would be more patience from the fans. I do like Jordan Henderson, I just think he needs more time to perfect the role should Klopp see him there long-term, but with Naby Keita coming and potentially a replacement for Emre Can, competition for places in that midfield really is hotting up at Liverpool.
6) Going into January transfer window, apart from Van Dijk/Keita who would you like to see the Reds bring into a the squad?
Liverpool will 100% contact Southampton again about Virgil van Dijk – Mike Gordon should be on the phone on January 1st to see whether their stance has changed – if it has, we go after him properly, and Saints have a month to find a replacement, if it hasn’t, I can’t see us going after another defender, and we will wait until the summer. Keita wont come to us in January, I just can’t see Leipzig’s stance changing at all on that one. I think a lot of it also depends on injuries – Klopp, like most managers, doesn’t like the winter window, so the primary target will still be Van Dijk.
Thanks to Ollie Bond for taking his time to answer these questions and you can follow him on twitter @Oliver__Bond
You can also follow Adrian too @AdrianCocking_